Republic police chief doubles down on refusal to enforce I-1639 in new book

Feb 18, 2019, 4:10 PM
2nd amendment sanctuary city...
(City of Republic Police Department)
(City of Republic Police Department)

Republic Police Chief Loren Culp made headlines when he became the first cop in the state to announce he would not enforce the new gun laws that came with I-1639.

RELATED: Republic police chief proposes sanctuary city for guns

Now, Culp is out with a new book expanding on his position, “American Cop, Upholding the Constitution and Defending Your Right to Bear Arms,” released on President’s Day on Amazon and in paperback. The book’s forward is written by Chief Culp, and Second Amendment advocate, Ted Nugent.

The book details Chief Culp’s journey over the past several months, which started when the small town Eastern Washington police chief announced that his department would not enforce I-1639 shortly after voters approved it. Culp believes it violates the U.S. Constitution, and especially the state constitution.

“Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution says that ‘the right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired.’ That is one sentence that is very, very clear,” Culp said.

He believes everything from the new age requirement for semi-automatic rifles, to the safe storage aspect of I-1639 violates that, and he is not backing down from his stand or his call for others in law enforcement to follow his lead. He believes enforcing these gun laws violates every officer’s oath of office to uphold and defend the constitution.

Several other sheriffs and police chiefs have now taken similar stands refusing to enforce the new gun laws, but Culp says that was not the case at first.

“When I saw the lack of response from other police chiefs and sheriffs in the beginning, that prompted me to write the book, because I needed to get my point of view, my perspective out to them; give them what I felt with the situation and why it violated citizen’s rights,” Culp explained.

His goal with the book is to educate.

“I hope to educate the citizens, law enforcement and elected officials — anyone who’s taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution — as well as the people that they work for, and that it’s very important elected officials and police officers remember that they work for the citizens,” Culp said.

“I hope to educate all of them to better know their rights and responsibilities, and how to take action, because there is a rabid assault on our rights right now, not just in Washington state, but all across our country,” he added.

Another issue he targets in the book is what he calls the idiocy of gun-free zones.

“It only disarms the law-abiding citizen,” Culp contended. “If I’m a law-abiding citizen and I go somewhere, and I see a sign out front that says guns are not allowed, I’m not going to go in there with my firearm because I don’t want to be a criminal; I don’t want to be charged with a crime right? So if a criminal shows up and he’s intent on doing harm to people, that sign’s not going to stop him.”

More than a dozen sheriffs, police chiefs, and county commissioners in the state have now joined Chief Culp in refusing to enforce the new gun laws, while others, such as King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht, have come out and said they will enforce it, arguing that it’s not their call to decide which laws to uphold.

Chief Culp disagrees.

“They can dig in all they want, but they’re on the wrong side of the Constitution, and they took the same oath that I did. They need to re-read section 24 of the Washington State Constitution and get on board supporting the rights of citizens. Instead of going after guns, they should be going after criminals,” Culp said.

Last week in an open letter, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson warned law enforcement and others that don’t enforce 1639 could be held liable if someone not allowed to have a gun uses it in a crime.

Then on Friday — the first anniversary of the Parkland shooting — Ferguson noted he has had to enforce laws that he did not agree with, and that law enforcement is expected to do the same.

Gov. Inslee also warned police officers and gun sellers refusing to enforce I-1639 that they are committing a crime.

“The law is going to be followed even if these sheriffs go AWOL and don’t do their jobs,” Inslee said, warning that State Patrol would ensure laws are enforced.

Chief Culp is not concerned with their message, which he equated to tyranny.

“I’m absolutely not worried about any threats from the governor or the AG,” Culp said.

Ferguson and Inslee did not respond to requests for comment on Culp’s book.

When Chief Culp announced on November he would not enforce I-1639, he also called on the Republic City Council to pass an ordinance declaring Republic a Second Amendment sanctuary city, theoretically exempting it from the gun restrictions.

RELATED: Idea of sanctuary cities for guns is ‘fiction’

The city council is expected to discuss and possibly act on that at a meeting Tuesday.

Ferguson has said he would look at the legal ramifications of that should the city pass it.

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Republic police chief doubles down on refusal to enforce I-1639 in new book